WhatsApp on Tuesday began end-to-end encryption on all its platforms, Android, iOS, Blackberry and others.
According to the Facebook-owned company, this new initiative is to protect the security of photos, videos, group chats and voice calls in addition to the text messages sent by its more than a billion users around the globe.
Encryption ensures that only a message’s sender and recipient can read messages, stopping them from being intercepted on their journey.
This means that it is impossible for messages to get intercepted as they travel between devices, it also means Companies can’t give information to the government even if it wanted to.
“The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us. End-to-end encryption helps make communication via WhatsApp private – sort of like a face-to-face conversation.” WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton wrote in a blog post.
This is coming after Apple-FBI row, and the United States authorities ordered the tech company to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.
The conflict fizzled out when the FBI said it found a way to unlock the phone without Apple’s help, but the debate is unresolved.
Taking that into custody, WhatsApp has made it harder for any agency or cybercriminals or even the government bodies to break into its messaging service.
The company said that it had added the new, stronger measures across its messages because it “has always prioritized making your data and communication as secure as possible.
“From now on when you and your contacts use the latest version of the app, every call you make, and every message, photo, video, file, and voice message you send, is end-to-end encrypted by default, including group chats,” WhatsApp wrote.
“Recently there has been a lot of discussion about encrypted services and the work of law enforcement.
“While we recognize the important work of law enforcement in keeping people safe, efforts to weaken encryption risk exposing people’s information to abuse from cybercriminals, hackers, and rogue states,” it added.
Created by US computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – both former Yahoo employees – in 2009, the company was acquired by Facebook for more than US$19 billion on Feb 19, 2014.